Humans have been harnessing the sun’s power since as early as 7th century B.C., when experts theorize that sunlight was used to light fires via magnifying glass materials.

Since then, numerous new technologies have been created and developed – like solar panels – which are seen more often on local houses and buildings, even in the cloudy northwest; not to mention powering space stations and satellites orbiting the earth.

Now it’s not unusual to talk about “going solar” and living in net-zero/off-grid homes where owners can actually sell power back, or store it in large batteries to power their living spaces.

The future is looking bright for “free energy” technology, with costs dropping every year. And the idea of a “Sustainable Burien” isn’t new, as that phrase was first coined by the city’s first Mayor, Arun Jahveri in the early 1990s.

And now there’s new leadership for the local group Sustainable Burien, which was first started in 2008 by Bob Edgar, Lucy Krakowiak, Rebecca Dare and Bill Opfermann. That group met often at the Burien Library, and its mission was to “promote and participate in the creation of a sustainable community in Burien.”

Now the Burien volunteer organization is being run by a new group of dynamic, bright young women, whose new mission statement is “Practical, inclusive group working to educate and keep our neighbors talking about sustainability. Bringing people together to take action.”:

  • Jodi Escareño – Co-leader Sustainable Burien
  • Elly Trinh – Co-leader Sustainable Burien

Along with these Highline High School Green Team members:

  • Nha Khuc
  • Ruth Assefa
  • Selena Nguyen
  • Kim Nguyen

Currently, the energetic new group of young volunteers is working towards a greener Burien, with its first big ambition to work with the Highline Environmental Team to install a solar panel system at the under-construction Highline High School, which has a projected fall 2021 completion date.

Jody and Elly are mentoring/acting as project managers for the Highline High School Green Team/Environmental Club.

Group leaders are proposing a 100 kilowatt system – which would save the district 50,an estimated $341,000 over the course of 30 years – and hope to start raising funds in Spring, 2021 for a Nov., 2021 installation.

Benefits of Solar:

  • Save money for the district for 30+ years
  • STEM Education/Green job
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Reduced CO2 emissions
  • Fighting climate change

The group is seeking around $250,000 in public grants from DOC Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants (next year), Seattle City Light Green Up, Centralia Coal Transition Grants, Port of Seattle Community Improvement Grants and others.

They’re also seeking help from other interested parties.

“We invite all residents and businesses to participate in creating a sustainable local community by sharing their ideas, passions, knowledge and talents,” the group said.

Organizers are also seeking public input on what they should focus on, and have created an online survey here.

Here’s a video of a recent presentation:

YouTube player

More info at:

Links to their recent proposals

For more info, email

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